I love but at the same time hated those monkey bars in my backyard. My dad was always holding me up to keep me from falling. But I’m older now; I could do it myself. I could see him busy with Michael. They were playing with our dog Sandy. It was my chance. I climbed the steps standing at the top bracing myself. I didn’t care about the peeling brown paint and wouldn’t let myself think about falling. I had one goal and starring at the steps opposite me, I knew had a long way to go.
I grabbed the top and a quick second later let myself hang. Reach one. Grab. Reach with the other. My feet flailing in excitement as I reached half way. I was doing it. A couple grabs more and I made it. My feet found their footing on the steps on the other side. I didn’t need any help. I could do it all on my own. I yelled to my dad in excitement, and he cheered me on from across the yard.
To celebrate I decided to conquer the monkey bars once more. And again and again . I went back and forth so many times, my excitement leading my way. But I guess I tested fate. My dad called to me that it was time to go pick my sister up and being the excitable child that I was, I insisted, “One more time.” I guess it was one time too many because the next thing I knew I was on the ground. A sharp pain shot through my right elbow, and I lay paralyzed by pain and fear.
One time too many led to six weeks in a bright purple cast. No more monkey bars for me.
There were yellow and white stripes surrounding the lower border of the wall. Small elephants, giraffes, and monkeys danced around the top. It had been there when we moved in. I had pleaded with my mother to change it but she refused. Apparently I was too grown up for that baby stuff at age six.
I had a white comforter with different fabrics of flowers that were sewed closed. Sometimes when I couldn’t fall asleep, quite frequently actually, I’d dig my pointer finder through the center of a flower and poke at it until the threads came loose and it looked like it bloomed. My mother must have noticed, but she never said anything.
Stuffed animals crowded the bottom of the bed of all different shapes and sizes. They were organized of course. Dogs on one side, polar bears on the other, and everything else in between. The stuffed animals of the week had the privilege of sleeping closer to my head. Fair is fair after all.
Continue reading “Honey”
I remember the first time I saw him hit my mother. I was six. It was late at night and I had snuck down the wooden steps for comfort from a bad dream that had involved the snake from The Jungle Book. I could hear him yelling. I knew he had a bad temper; I just never paid much attention to it. Perhaps I should have turned around, but something told me not to. Maybe it was curiosity or maybe I was just being naive.
I tiptoed down the long hallway; the soft flower rug running beneath my toes. I don’t remember what my father was yelling about. Maybe it was about the house. Maybe he was in a bad mood from work. Maybe it was even about me. But as I peered around the corner into our retro style kitchen, nothing in my six-year-old heart could justify what I saw next and nothing ever would. I froze like a coward. I should have done something. Anything really. Maybe just seeing his broken-hearted son would have been enough to make it stop.
The next day I saw the first of many black and blue marks on my mother. She brushed it off as having fallen. But I knew. I always knew.
John hailed for a cab frantically as Mary shouted disorganized insults. She was bitter from what John had mentioned just moments before. He felt bad for the cab driver. He was clearly annoyed when the door flung open, and above the bustling noise that was Times Square, a woman’s angry cries were most audible.
John held the door open for Mary. Her yelling was now accompanied by her wagging finger as she slid into the cab. Slamming the door was enough to keep John biting his lip for most of the cab ride to the hotel. As if the traffic wasn’t bad enough, the continuous stream of insults that came pouring out of his wife’s mouth made the twenty minute cab ride feel even longer.
Once they got back to the hotel, Mary’s bickering still didn’t stop until the wine from dinner caught up with her and she was still on the bed. Calmer now, John crawled into the tiny bed alongside his now sleeping wife.
Turns out everyone was right. Getting married after just 3 months didn’t end in a lifetime of bliss he had be hoping for.
I will die in a small town no one’s heard of
On a day when the birds are chirping
A day like most other days, a day in passing.
My children will be at my funeral cloaked in black,
A face of stone, emotions they lack
Handshakes, condolences, sturdy nods, and a few laughs.
It will be a Monday
Just as when my eyes first peered
into the bright light.
But now I’ll be six feet underground
in an eternal goodnight.
I’m just a simple 40-year-old housewife living in a suburban hellhole. My husband is a despicable excuse for a man and I just his maid and cook. Last week he actually looked me in the eyes for the first time in 3 months when a quick swat of his arm left them framed by a mesh of dark colors. “Sorry, Dear” is all I can manage to whimper as I bite my tongue until it bleeds. “You’re a useless waste of a wife” he says repetitively among other naive insults. Tonight he will overdoes on his medication. “A heart attack” read the police report the next morning.
You forget I once led
the way for John Steinbeck when
The Grapes of Wrath was not yet ripe. A doodle
necessity for Van Gogh
through many starry nights. I’ve flown across parchment
and paper by the pages like a hummingbird
racing from flower to flower
never still. I’ve exposed your most sensual
of secrets you’d never tell. Your friends
have whispered privy thoughts
in your ear, forgetting I’m tucked just above,
I too can hear. But you’ve
still forgotten. Erased
from your memory, I am alone and
broken. Chewing away at my heart for years,
you now push me aside. When computers
first arrived I thought I had nothing to
fear. I’m no longer lucky
to you. There are no more secrets
I can tell. You make me feel like
there is no point anymore. I guess
I’ll always just be your #2.